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Enhancement of Classic Organic Chemistry Laboratory Published in the Journal of Chemical Education

July 20, 2017

How do we modernize and improve on traditional, fundamental laboratory investigations in the introductory organic chemistry sequence?  A publication by three collaborators in the Department of Chemistry provides one answer to this question.

The publication in the Journal of Chemical Education features a "remix" of a classic organic chemistry laboratory exploring the thermodynamic and kinetic control of a chemical reaction. Prof. Kathleen Hess, Senior Lecturer in Chemistry and Dr. Russell Hopson, NMR Specialist, worked together to develop a process for utilizing 1-H NMR rather than the traditional melting point analysis method for this lab. This method incorporates modern instrumentation into the undergraduate lab, one of the guidelines set by the American Chemical Society for Bachelor's degree programs in chemistry. In this lab, students become scientists, analyzing data about the results of an organic synthesis reaction and arriving at a conclusion.

The late Dr. Craig Yennie (Ph.D. '12), alumnus and Adjunt Lecturer in the department, successfully implemented the experiment in CHEM0360, the second semester of the Organic Chemistry sequence. "We would like to acknowledge Craig's contribution in that he was determined to have the experiment published," says Prof. Hess, who indicates that Dr. Yennie "diligently work[ed] to identify the strengths of our new method over the classical experiment."